NPR President Vivian Schiller dispatched this apology Sunday evening, Oct. 24 , six days after the network set off a pre-election political firestorm with its firing of news analyst Juan Williams. She stands by the decision but not the way it was handled. Dear Program Colleagues,
I want to apologize for not doing a better job of handling the termination of our relationship with news analyst Juan Williams. While we stand firmly behind that decision, I regret that we did not take the time to prepare our program partners and provide you with the tools to cope with the fallout from this episode. I know you all felt the reverberations and are on the front lines every day responding to your listeners and talking to the public. This was a decision of principle, made to protect NPR’s integrity and values as a news organization.
In 1981, Congress significantly restricted the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's decision-making on spending, funneling fixed percentages of CPB's federal appropriation to specific spending categories and types of grantees. Before then, CPB had faced repeated struggles, including a rift between TV and radio. In 1981, Congress imposed a formula proposed by Rep. Tim Wirth (D-Colo.), then chair of the House telecommunications subcommittee. The 75-25 split between TV and radio was based on experience. Robben Fleming, then president of CPB, complained that the formula "emasculates" CPB, and his successors periodically have objected to their loss of discretion over spending.
ARTICLE I. BASIC POLICY
It is the basic policy of the corporation to be noncommercial, educational, nonsectarian and nonpartisan. The corporation shall operate for the mutual benefit of noncommercial radio stations, organizations and individuals serving the public radio community, and carry on activities as a business league exempt from federal income tax pursuant to Section 501(c)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, as amended. ARTICLE II. MEMBERSHIP
The Ford Foundation was noncommercial television's first big funder, years before Congress contributed large sums — supporting efforts to acquire reserved channels, helping to start stations in major cities, and backing National Educational Television, the system's major production and distribution organization in its early years.
Public Law 90-129, 90th Congress, November 7, 1967 (as amended to April 26, 1968)
This law was enacted less than 10 months after the report of the Carnegie Commission on Educational Broadcasting. The act initiates federal aid to the operation (as opposed to funding capital facilities) of public broadcasting. Provisions include:
extend authorization of the earlier Educational Television Facilities Act,
forbid educational broadcasting stations to editorialize or support or oppose political candidates,
establish the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and defines its board,
defines its purposes,
authorize reduced telecommunications rates for its interconnection,
authorize appropriations to CPB, and
authorize a federal study of instructional television and radio.
Title I—Construction of Facilities
Extension of duration of construction grants for educational broadcasting
Three years after Latino activists bitterly criticized Ken Burns's The War for omitting interviews with Hispanic soldiers and sailors, CPB and PBS concluded negotiations to create a Diversity and Innovation Fund to seed new productions, Current reported. PBS issued this RFP on its website. CPB/PBS Diversity and Innovation Fund
Request for Proposals
Weekly, Primetime Television Series
This RFP, the first from the Diversity and Innovation Fund, is designed to solicit proposals to provide the NPS with a new, weekly, primetime series – content that will expand viewership and usage, reaching an adult audience on-air and online that reflects the diversity of the 40-64 year old US population. Specifically, the DI Fund seeks to:
Diversify the NPS by attracting more racially and ethnically diverse viewers and Web visitors within the target demographic;
Expand the current NPS audience through the increased use of content created by a diverse group of producers and through the effective use of new and emerging technologies;
Leverage the talent and creativity of executive producers and producers from minority and underserved communities;
Build capacity for the public media system from within those communities; and
Encourage innovation in the planning, production and distribution of public media content. The content should be conceived and budgeted with multiple-platform use (broadcast, VOD, Internet, mobile, DVD, etc.) in mind from the outset. As producers develop their proposals and ultimately their pilot programs, they should consider not only the traditional broadcast components but also the digital strategy which may include web presence, mobile applications, social media, inclusion in the Digital Learning Library and/or PBS Teachers, etc.
From PBS's June 2010 request for primetime series proposals to be funded by the CPB/PBS Diversity and Innovation Fund. See also Current feature on the Explorer Archetype. The Explorer Archetype
Research shows the most successful brands embody a single archetype. To define and fully leverage PBS's brand, we are employing Archetypal Branding, a proven strategy in which an organization aligns all activities behind a single unifying concept. We believe adopting this strategy will help us increase audience engagement, raise money and build brand loyalty.
The Diversity Committee of the National Association of Latino Independent Producers sent this letter to PBS about its November 2008 Report on the PBS Diversity Initiative on Content. The letter was released by Defend the Honor, a Latino civil rights group that led the protests against Ken Burns' series 2008 The War. March 4, 2009
Ms. Paula Kerger, Chief Executive Officer
Ms. Haydee M. Rodriguez, Director, Diversity Initiative
Public Broadcasting Service
2100 Crystal Drive
Arlington, VA 22202-3785
Dear Ms. Kerger and Ms. Rodriguez:
We would like to thank you for the PBS Diversity Initiative on Content (November, 2008). As you know, NALIP strongly supports and encourages PBS in its efforts to accurately reflect the diversity of American life in its programming and staffing. While we applaud the effort to generate an assessment of the system's diversity practices, we are concerned by the report's statement that PBS "cannot paint the full picture of its 'diverse' content or the diversity of its staff."